Next month the Corrib partners will resume further drilling and subsea work at the Corrib gas field, 83 kilometers off the coast of County Mayo, using the Sedco 711 semisub. The Corrib partners plan to complete the work on the Corrib subsea wells during 2008, by which point five gas wells will be ready for production at a later date. Further offshore engineering activity will be required in 2009 to complete the installation of the offshore facilities.
A modified route for the onshore section of the Corrib gas pipeline has been identified. The route, proposed by RPS consultants, the company contracted by the Corrib Gas partners to identify an alternative route in the vicinity of Rossport, is twice as far away from occupied housing compared to the originally approved route. It has been identified following a 14-month route selection process including 11 months of public consultation.
As well as modifying the route of the pipeline, the Corrib partners have agreed to limit the design pressure in the onshore section of the pipeline to 144 bar, less than half of the original design pressure. This recommendation was made by Advantica as part of their Independent Safety Review published in 2006. The Corrib Gas Partners accepted, and are implementing, all of the Advantica recommendations.
Construction of the Corrib gas processing terminal, at Bellanaboy, Co. Mayo is well underway with over 650 people employed on what is now the biggest construction site in Ireland.
The Corrib Gas project will provide up to 60% of Ireland's gas needs at peak supply, and will add Euro 3 billion to Ireland's GDP over the life of the project, according to the Goodbody Economic Consultants' Report issued in November 2007.
The recommendations contained in Mr. Peter Cassells' mediation report informed the selection of the proposed new pipeline route and there is now a firm focus on delivering benefits to the local community. A significant community investment programme has been established contributing over Euro 500,000 to local initiatives in 2007 and an Advisory Board was appointed in December 2007 to help set up a long-term community development fund over the life of the project. The percentage of local employment on the construction site at Bellanaboy has been increased significantly. Over 55% of those currently working on the site are from Co. Mayo.
Speaking today Mr. Andy Pyle, Managing Director Shell E&P Ireland Limited (SEPIL) said "Since the events of 2005, Shell has listened very closely to the local community. Today's announcement shows that we have made every reasonable effort to address the concerns expressed by local people."
He added "In identifying the new pipeline route RPS have engaged extensively with the local community and taken on board the key recommendations of Mr. Peter Cassells' Mediation Report. We are delighted with the progress being achieved on this strategically important infrastructure project. The gas processing terminal at Bellanaboy is now 30% complete and is the largest construction site in Ireland. The completion of Corrib will significantly reduce Ireland's dependence on imported energy supplies. We look forward to successfully completing the Corrib gas project and continuing to bring its benefits to Erris, Mayo and Ireland".
SEPIL will shortly submit applications to An Bord Pleanala, the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food for consents to construct the onshore pipeline. A period of statutory public consultation will follow the submission of these applications during which all interested parties can make submission to the statutory authorities.
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